Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the US House Financial Services Committee this week and was asked about Libra, as well as other Facebook-related issues. On Libra, Zuckerberg said the intent was for the cryptocurrency to "extend America's financial leadership, as well as our democratic values and oversight around the world." He also cautioned that he felt if the American Facebook didn't get Libra going, other nations would step in with similar currencies. "While we debate these issues, the rest of the world isn't waiting. China is moving quickly to launch similar ideas in the coming months."
Zuckerberg went on to portray Libra as American's saviour in the face of emerging Chinese government-controlled cryptocurrencies. However, the representatives were unmoved regarding the viability of the proposed Facebook banking system. Despite his efforts to distance Libra from Facebook and his assertions that it would be an independent entity, representatives concentrated on trust issues and the scope that the project presents for money laundering and general criminal activity. In short, the House doesn't trust Facebook with people's money, so expect delays.
User privacy just had to come up, and it did. Congresswoman Katherine Porter referenced a damages lawsuit seeking recompense after Facebook allowed third parties like Cambridge Analytica access to user data. Zuckerberg was also quizzed on political ads. The House also raised about how Facebook provides a platform for political candidates to use hate speech. Zuckerberg was stuck for an answer.
|Classic. Facebook pretends they care about and will protect user privacy. Meanwhile, an army of their attorneys is marching into federal court to argue it's not their job. Which one is it?|
Things got a little surreal when the Facebook CEO managed to squeeze in a product launch announcement. While bigging up Facebook's contribution to a better society, Zuckerberg said:
"Later this week, we actually have a big announcement coming up on launching a big initiative around news and journalism, we're actually partnering with a lot of folks to build a new product that's supporting high-quality journalism."
The prospect of a separate Facebook news tab came up in April, and now it looks like that's being launched in the coming days. Since the news tab was first touted, reports have revealed that Facebook will be looking to employ human moderators to curate news from trusted sources. The questions concerning that will be focused on how Facebook intends to define what trust is.
What do you guys think about Facebook and Zuckerberg's current torment at the hands of Congress? While Zuckerberg tries to portray Facebook as a vehicle for societal improvement, the news tab might just serve to further divide - if not curated correctly. Cambridge Analytica has hurt the social media giant and made projects like Libra a particular cause for concern when it comes to the powers that be. The trouble is that when you break trust, all eyes tend to be on you, and it's hard to win that trust back.